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Rossie in the 1930s & 1940s. Part 2.

By Jean Gardner.


Before the medicine shows, home talent plays were held upstairs in the hotel. Also basketball games were held in the big hotel. Rossie teams played againt neighboring towns from Hammond , Pope Mills , Brasie Corners & Oxbow. The most famous who is still alive was Herm Petrie.

Animal shows put on by Earl Eddy were like the Conservation shows today , with animals . Spike Draper also gave animal shows but in other areas.

The big hall in the hotel was also used for formal dances with country & western bands. Jerry McGee & Vel Roberts were two of the band members. The first girl Elwood ever danced with was Virgina Madlin, who was staying with the Stevensons. Elwood was about 12 years old. He said the dance was during a blackout . "The lights went out but the band played on," he quoted.

Another interesting story about the hotel was that a room upstairs, behind the dance hall stage was haunted. This was Jimmy Todd's room & Jimmy died in that room. Everyone said his ghost walked around the room. Beulah Swem Walsh said she slept in that room but never saw the ghost. Elwood said Halloween was much different then compared to now. He said then he went trick or treating , candy wasn't handed out. Instead you got delicous home made fudge, filled cookies or the best raised dounuts that were made by Leana Sigourney.

Other social events were the Ladies Aid Dinners & the church suppers that were held in the basement of the presbyterian Church. Elwood said one thing he remembers is that the basement of the church was always very damp. The Club Rooms then owned by Staint Patrick's Church were used for card parties. ( The Saint Patrick's building was also where the post office was last.)

Another big part of socializing was visting the neigbors , Herm & Katie Petrie. The Simons & Petries got together almost every night in the winter for cards games of pedro. It was always the men against the women. Kate Petrie had the only eletric toaster & Elwood said she made the best toasted cheese sandwiches with Velveta cheese . When they went visting, Elwood was warned in advance to say "thank you" if anyone gave him candy or cookies. He was also told to get a drink & go the bathroom before they left the house, so he wouldn't need to when they arrived at someone's home.

Elwood's family also spent many eveing outside of the community of Rossie. They Visted their good friends, Buck & Frances Gardner. as a child , Elwood always thought it was a long trip to the gardner's home. They also visited Al & Venita Hutton. Often they visted Nole & Lena Sigourney, John & leila Turnbull.

Near Elwood , lived Nellie & Will Venton. Mr. Venton would take his dog rex to the woods to cut firewood. One day while cutting wood, Will died of a heart attack. Elwood's father & Uncle Arnold Simons found him , but Rex wouldn't let anyone near Will. The dog protected the family , but luckily the neigbors knew one another so well that finally they coaxed dog away from Mr. Venton.

The road where Elwood lived was a drit road. The road was built in 1937 & called the Farm to Market Road. Elwood remembers about 25 men working on it at that time. He said when they blasted the road the men closed all the shutters on his house to prevent stones from breaking the windows. People along the road took in boarders from Oswegatchie . At that time Zelia Perry & Elwood's mother took in borders . His mother had four borders & a hired girl from the south Woods Road in Rossie. The borders got three meals a day & went home on the weekends. Two of the borders married women from Rossie.

Elwood's family raised their own cattle , chickens & Pigs. They canned their own meat & vegetables. He said he always carried his lunch to school & the sandwichs were made from thick slices of homemade bread. He said the only one lucky enough to have baker's bread was Mr Gibson's daughter , Frances. When he was lucky he would trade sandwiches with her.

The village had electricity but Elwood's family used kerosene lamps untill they got electricity in 1937.

Ernie Gardner cut hair for 25 years while giving out weather statistics that he recalled from the previous month & years. Mr. Gardner gave haircuts in his dining room. His wife , Margaret, furnished the wrap for the haircuts.

Elwoods grandparents, James & Alma Hutton Simons, lived across the road. They did most of their shopping for groceries from Oscar Love who was a peddler with his backseat & part of the frontseat full of groceries . Elwood's mother never wanted to be brothered with the peddler , but gave him a penny or two once or twice a week when he came throught. Eventually Oscar ran stores in Elmdale & Natural Dam. It was rumored that at one time he offered bread for seven cents a loaf or three for a quarter.

When Elwoods family went to Gouverneur, probably once a twice a month, they'd often stop in Oxbow where Elwood's father would vist with Deke Storie or Jim Ridsdale in their stores. In Brasie Corners it was Earl Brasie.

Elwoods says he aways felt that the stops took so long, but he had no control over the situation. His parents where great visitors & very out going people . Elwood's mother was town clerk for 30 years & that enabled Elwood to get acquainted with most of the residents of town of Rossie.

His father knew everybody, everywhere. His father once spoke to a man whom Elwood knew his father didn't know. When he asked him why, the reply was, "I might know him sometime."

Several historical events took place during Elwood's childhood . One such event that happened in 1940 was a vist from the famous fighter , Jack Demsey. Mr. Demsey was Campaingning for Franklin D. Roosevelt.

He pulled up in a big black limousine right in front of the post office . It was about 6 pm. in the evening & about 20 people were there to meet him. The farmers were busy with chores but Elwood got to special permission ro ride his bike into town & watch the great event. Herm & Katie Petrie were on their way to Gouverneur. They where able to shake hands with Mr. Demsey.

Another historical moment was when Herm & Kate Petrie had taken Elwood & his parents to Lke Bonaparte for a sunday dinner with Herm's Parents, Jim & mary Petrie. When they came back, they stopped at Elmer Sprague's & he told them that the japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.

One other historical time was on june 2, 1939 when Walter Guest Kellogg, Author of "Parish's Fancy," visted Margaret Laidlaw Wiggans. He had come from California. Elwood had ridden his bicycle there to vist Maggie's granson Donald Mathusz. Mr. kellog Gave Maggie a copy of his book with the inscription "to Mrs.Benjamin Wiggans whose father "jack Laidlaw was Parish's loyal friend, with my very best wishes june2,1939." Elwood now possesses the book.

I'd like to say, In closing , Elwood , thank you for all the time you spent with me putting this together . I hope everyone enjoys the people & events you have recaptured. Thank You, I've truly enjoyed this . I like to dedicate this article to all the past & present people of Rossie & surrounding communities........

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